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Under the Operator Rating System (ORS), the NZ Transport Agency collects relevant safety information to collate your overall rating. The information is collected from three types of safety-related events over a 24-month period:

  • certificate of fitness (CoF) inspections

  • roadside inspections

  • relevant traffic offences and infringements.

Collecting your information

Collecting your CoF information

When you present a vehicle for a CoF inspection, you have to provide your transport service licence (TSL) number. This is recorded on the inspection check sheet along with other safety inspection information, such as any faults detected.

The vehicle testing station then enters the results of the CoF inspection into the Transport Agency's computer system against your TSL number. Inspection results for trailers will be assigned to the TSL of the prime mover unless another TSL is provided.

To ensure accuracy of information, the Transport Agency's CoF agents have developed an issue resolution process that outlines the steps you can take if you don’t agree with the outcome of an inspection.

Find out more about getting a CoF
Download a list of CoF component codes and their ranks [CSV, 1.5 MB]
Find out more about the issue resolution process

Collecting your roadside inspection information

During a roadside inspection, the New Zealand Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) or one of our inspectors will record your TSL number on the inspection form, along with other safety inspection information such as faults detected.

The results are entered into the roadside inspection database against your TSL number.

To ensure accuracy of information in the roadside inspection database, the New Zealand Police have developed a resolution process for faults or defects.

See the CVIU ORS disputed inspections resolution process flowchart (external link)

Targeted checks

There may be times where the Transport Agency carries out audits or where the CVIU run operations focusing on a specific operator or identified group of transport operators to address a particular safety issue within the industry. When this type of operation is run, either at the roadside or within an operator's premises, the results of these activities will be recorded in the ORS but will not be used in calculating an operator's rating.

Read Roadside inspection guidelines for heavy vehicles [PDF, 303 KB]
Download a list of road inspection faults and their ranks [CSV, 58 KB] 

Receive email notifications

You can sign up to receive an e-mail notification every time a vehicle linked to your TSL is stopped at the roadside. Send your TSL number and email address to ors@nzta.govt.nz. Please note that this email service is not in real time.

Collecting information about offences

If you (or one of your drivers) commit an offence that is on a specific schedule of offences that impact on road safety, it is likely to affect your operator safety rating.

When a police officer issues you with a ticket for an offence, they'll record your TSL number on the ticket along with other offence details. The offence notice will be entered into the police computer system against your TSL number, then sent to us.

Find out more about driving offences and penalties
Download a full list of driving offences and their scores [XLSX, 106 KB]

Collecting your crash information

Crash information is not included in your rating, but any information about a crash, including the TSL number of any commercial vehicles involved, will be recorded by the police on a crash report form. The crash report form is sent to us and entered into our crash analysis system against your TSL number. We will tell you about the crashes that have been recorded against your TSL number when we notify you of your proposed rating, to help you manage your road safety risk.

If an offence notice is issued to you or your driver as a result of the crash, this information and any related penalty is included in your rating.

Determining your score

A purpose-designed computer program calculates the scores. This program has been independently reviewed and quality assured by a statistics expert. 

Your scores are weighted according to the risks that the events pose to road safety. For example, offences pose the highest risk to road safety, so any offences linked to your TSL number will have greater impact on your rating (your rating will be poorer) than other types of event, such as a fault at a CoF inspection. These weightings were determined with the help of an independent study that assessed the safety-related risks relevant to transport operators, drivers and vehicles.

How faults and offences are weighted

Some CoF and roadside faults pose a more significant safety risk than others. For example, problems with a vehicle's brakes, lighting or tyres have a greater impact on safety than a certificate not correctly displayed. The faults are weighted so the more serious faults in relation to road safety result in a poorer rating for you.

Similarly, more serious offences, such as drink-driving, speeding or careless driving, will have a greater impact on your rating than less serious offences.

Other factors

Other factors also affect your score, such as:

  • the number of times a vehicle is inspected in a certain rating period

  • the number of kilometres a vehicle travels.

Scores will be allocated to a single transport service licence (TSL). If you have more than one TSL, scores are calculated for each TSL separately.

Read more about how distance travelled affects the ORS algorithm

The calculation

ORS ratings are calculated using an algorithm, which is a series of mathematical steps which produces a final score. The final score corresponds to a star rating of 1 to 5.

The algorithm steps are shown in the diagram below.

ORS algorithm


Download a pdf of the diagram of algorithm steps in calculating Operator Rating System (ORS) ratings [PDF, 94 KB]

How the event scores are assigned

CoF and roadside inspection faults

These are ranked based on the component that is faulty and how unsafe the vehicle becomes if that component doesn't work properly. For example, any brake fault will be ranked the same, whether the brake is worn, seized or contaminated.

CoF faults

CoF fault ranks range from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) – so, for example, faulty brakes are ranked highly, while missing certification doesn't pose a high risk to safety so has a low ranking.

The ranks were assigned by a team of heavy vehicle specialists from the Transport Agency's Vehicles team.

Find out more about CoF faults in the Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual (VIRM) (external link)

Roadside inspection faults

Roadside inspection faults are also ranked based on the faulty component and the relative safety risk of that component being faulty.

Ranks are assigned based on the recommended action for that fault as specified in the HMV categorisation of defects handbook used by NZ Police and Transport Agency vehicle inspectors.

Unsafe components have a high bearing on safety and so carry a high score. Defective components have a moderate bearing on safety and so carry a medium score. Components that are non-compliant but not unsafe score the lowest.

The recommended actions for roadside faults, and the resulting ORS scores, were assigned by a panel of experts from the Transport Authority, Police CVIU, the Road Transport Forum, and the Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand.

Read the HMV categorisation of defects handbook

How offences are scored

Offences are scored based on the risk to safety of the offending behaviour. Scores range from a low of 20 for the lowest safety risk to 100 for the greatest safety risk. This includes third and subsequent offences and offences causing injury or death.

The types of offending that carry the highest scores fall roughly into the categories of dangerous driving, drink-driving, speeding, unsafe load or vehicle, and fatigue (reflected through work-time and logbook offences).

Some offences carry a score of 0, so have no impact on your ORS rating as they are not safety-related. The scores for offences were assigned by a panel of experts from the Ministry of Transport, NZ Police, the Transport Agency, Road Transport Forum, and Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand.

Download a full list of driving offences and their ORS scores [XLSX, 106 KB]

What do the ratings look like?

The ratings are similar to hotel or restaurant ratings, with stars being allocated based on performance.

RatingDefinitionOverall score range
5 Very good level of compliance 0–0.4999
4 Good level of compliance 0.5000–2.1041
3 Unsatisfactory level of compliance 2.1042–3.7082
2 Very unsatisfactory level of compliance 3.7083–5.3124
1 Extremely unsatisfactory level of compliance 5.3125 or higher

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